How Fast Do Plates Move?
ES0810  Calculating the Rate of Plate Motion

Each island's distance from the hot spot (currently marked by the island of Hawaii) indicates how far the Pacific Plate has moved since that island formed. Dividing the distance the plate traveled by the time it took to travel (indicated by the age of the rocks) gives the rate of plate motion.

  !   Use the ruler tool to measure the distance the plate has moved since Kauai formed.


Jennifer Loomis, TERC
Ages of volcanic rocks on Hawaiian Islands


5. Calculate the average rate of the Pacific Plate's motion over the past 5.1 million years. Express your answer in cm/year.

Click here if you need help with the calculations.


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